Monthly Archives: June 2015

2015 Running Goal Check-up

Wow!  It’s the last day of June and we’re halfway there.  Being halfway to 2016 means it’s time for a 2015 running goal check-up.  I like to look back at my goals when I’m halfway for a few reasons.  During these hot summer months a running goal check-up keeps me motivated by showing how far I’ve come in six months.  It also helps me stay focused.  Some of these goals I think about frequently but other slip through the cracks every now and then.  You can lean what and why I chose these specific 2015 running goals in this post but here’s a quick review of what they are.

Run 1,500 miles.
After this morning’s run, I’ve logged 717 miles.  I have a group run this evening for a another four that will bring my halfway there total to 721.  Even though my miles won’t total half of 1,500, I’m confident I’ll hit this goal.  I have to average roughly 30 miles per week to nail it and with a pair of back to back half marathons, some big long runs coming when the weather cools off, it’s easily within reach.  This is kind of an arbitrary goal but it gives me something to work towards and I’m not sure I’ll set the same kind of ‘miles to run’ goal for 2016.

Run my first 20 miler.
This will definitely happen.  I had originally planned to get it checked off this summer but it has been so unacceptably hot thus far, I’m not in a big hurry.  After hemming and hawing about what marathon to make my first, I finally settled on Newport News, VA’s One City Marathon next March.  With close to 37 weeks until I toe the line, there’s plenty of time to rack up long running goal check-upruns of this or longer distances without risking a heat stroke.

Check 5 more states of the 50 states+DC list
I am well on my way to hitting this goal.  I checked off Arizona in January, DC in March, Kansas and Maryland in May (recaps of all those races are here) and am heading to Illinois for Rock n Roll Chicago in three short weeks.  With Connecticut and Rhode Island on the schedule for October, hotel rooms booked and road trip planned, this goal is looking pretty good.  I might even add a PR attempt in the late fall or early December, hopefully checking off one more in the last stretch.

Break a 1:35.00 half marathon (PR)
I was definitely on course to hit this goal in the spring.  My RnR DC race was really solid over a hilly course and I felt good heading into my target race.  Unfortunately the weather was hot and humid for both chances I had.  In Kansas my knee gave me trouble and in Maryland I physically fell apart in the very warm temperatures.  After such a frustrating month of May, I took a step back and decided to concentrate on 5k/10k for the fall.  But….I don’t think I can do that.  I’m definitely looking at a possible goal race in the early winter because I know I can reach this one.

That’s my mid-2015 running goals check-up!  Things are moving along nicely and I’m looking forward to continued success as the year rolls on.

Meredith

How are your 2015 goals going?

Fit Friday: Sharing Workouts

It’s time to start sharing workouts again!  It’s been a while since I’ve shared my workouts mostly because I’m hanging out in maintenance mode while not training for anything specific.  Things haven’t changed much but I am only three weeks out from my next half, Rock n Roll Chicago.  I love stealing seeing other people’s workouts, it’s a great source of inspiration and is a good way to stick with one of my summer goals: don’t get bored.  Hopefully I can help someone else get inspired by sharing mine.

My mileage week technically starts on Monday but my rest day moves around and seven days of workouts are seven days of workouts, right?  Every other Friday I’ll be sharing workouts from the last two weeks so here we go!

Saturday (6/13):  Easy shakeout barefoot on the soft sand, 2ish miles.
Sunday:  Long Run, treadmill.  10 min warm up then 60 minutes at 5k+30 seconds.  12.5 miles.
Monday:  Crossfit – 20 min AMRAP 4 x muscle up progression, 4 x hand stand push-up progression (no upside down for me), 8 kettlebell swings.
Tuesday:  Run, road, 95+ degrees.  30 min at 80% of 5k pace.
Wednesday:  Run, barefoot on packed and soft sand.  Based on effort 10 miles.
Thursday:  Rest, 30 min mobility work.  Feet were very tired from Wednesday’s outing.
Friday:  Crossfit – Front squat to 3RM, then for time: run 200, 40 superman, 20 back rack Bulgarian split squats, run 400, 30 SM, 20 BSS, run 600, 20 SM, 20 BSS (12:09)

Saturday (6/20): Run.  1 Mile Time Trial then 60 min at 10k+25 seconds.
Sunday: Rest, 30 min mobility.  Partied hard Saturday night, oops!
Monday: Crossfit – Alternate every 3 min for 24 min:  1. row 20 cal, 20 goblet squats.  2. 2×5 pull-ups, 8 burpees.
Tuesday: Run, short intervals.  2 x tabata all out sprints in 90 degree, humid weather.  3.5 miles.
Wednesday: Crossfit – 4 min AMRAP x 4 hang power clean, 4 thrusters, rest 2 min and add 10 pounds to bar.  3 min AMRAP x 3 HPC, 3 thrusters, rest 2 min and add 10 pounds to bar.  2 min AMRAP x 2 HPC, 2 thrusters, rest 2 min add 10 pounds to bar.  1 min max effort HPC thrusters.
Thursday:  Rest, 30 min mobility.  No really good reason other than I was just not feeling it.
Friday: Run.  2 x 5k, barefoot, packed sand, rest 3 min between.  7 miles.

That’s what I’ve been up to in the gym and on the road lately and I hope you’ll enjoying me sharing my workouts more often.

Meredith

Do you like sharing workouts?  Does it give you ideas for your own?

Summer Training Continues

My summer training continues as the heat and humidity do, too.  It’s been rough so far this summer here in Virginia Beach and it doesn’t look to be getting any better soon.  The daily highs of close to or above 90 the last 15 days have been much warmer than this time last year (thanks, Garmin) and my training schedule has had to be flexible.

Luckily, flexibility has been easy with my low pressure maintenance mode also rolling on and the trusty treadmill still standing by.  I did think I would get a reprieve from the treadmill after a tough winter with some early morning running but as my summer training continues, it turns out I was dead wrong.  summer training continuesMornings are ‘cool’ but extremely humid and evenings are hot, hot, hot with more reasonable levels of humidity.  It seems like a lose-lose kind of situation if I’m looking to get in a hard outdoor workout.

With staying indoors a safer option, I’ve been visiting that trusty treadmill for runs longer than 10 miles or when it’s just too awful outside, running barefoot on the beach a bunch and sticking to very early or late evening outdoor workouts.  I was very happy to finish this morning’s short intervals around the lake!

I’m also happy I opted out of an early fall goal half marathon and switched my focus to the 5k and 10k distances.  This has given me the chance I needed to make my biggest summer training goals staying fresh and out of a rut.  The struggles I faced at the end of my spring race season with physical and mental exhaustion are things I wouldn’t like to see again, especially when it’s this warm out.  I solved my long run hydration issues by adding GPS Hydration to each run’s water supply and as my summer training continues, I’m feeling great about where the next few weeks will go.

Meredith

How do you handle the heat as your summer training continues?  Head indoors?  Slow down?

Tin Foil Chicken and Vegetables

Tin foil chicken and vegetables is one of my favorite week night meals.  This recipe is quick, simple, good for you and delicious.  I love the way I can mix up the flavors by simply switching out one or two ingredients.  Using the ingredients below, each serving is home to less than 300 calories, packed with muscle building protein and very filling.

Tin Foil Chicken and Vegetables
Servings – 2-4
Prep Time – 10 minutes
Cook Time – 30 minutes
Difficulty – 1

Ingredients
2-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (to lower cook time, divide into sections)
1 cup frozen corn (thawed)
2/3 cup black beans drained and rinsed
2/3 cup halved cherry tomatoes
1/4 cup diced green pepper
1/4 cup diced yellow onion
1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2-4 Tablespoons taco seasoning
2-4 teaspoons cayenne pepper
2-4 large squares of tin foil

Instructions
Pre-heat oven to 375.
Add olive oil, peppers and onion to sautee pan and cook until onions start to become clear.
Place each chicken breast in center of one tin foil sheet.
Season chicken with taco and cayenne powders.
Top each chicken breast with tomatoes, corn, black beans, green pepper and onion.
Fold tin foil into packet around chicken with small opening to vent.
Place in oven for 25-20 minutes or until juice runs clear.
Serve by carefully opening foil packets and pouring chicken, vegetables and juice onto a plate.chicken and vegetablesThis simple chicken and vegetables recipe can be switched up for winter by adding squash and carrots or swapping out taco flavors for basil and thyme.  If you want to find out how the calorie count would change, plug in your ingredients here.  I love using fresh vegetables for a colorful meal that’s great all year long and with very easy cleanup, this delicious dinner won’t take away from family time.  Give this tin foil chicken and vegetables recipe a try.
I love it and know you will too!

Meredith

What’s your go-to weeknight meal?  What vegetables would you use?

Friday Favorites: First Edition

This is my first official Friday Favorites post!  I usually do a Fit Friday, pre-race wrap up or Right Now post to break in the weekend but felt like mixing it up this month.

The Lilly Pulitzer Linen Beach Pantfriday favorites
Not only is the Red Right Return pattern lots of fun, the pants themselves are light and very comfortable.  They’re a perfect cover up when heading to the beach or hanging out at home with a wide drawstring waistband and plenty of length.  Cleaning up after a hot, sticky run feels great.  Slipping these Friday Favorites comfies on for a solid foam rolling and stretching session after that shower feels even better.

Ready to Run, Dr. Kelly Starrettfriday favorites
I first heard of Kelly Starrett and his Mobility WOD website when I starting Crossfit.  A big part of functional fitness, and solid injury free running, is proper range of motion.  It’s impossible to build strength safely when you can’t move fluidly through the movement.  As I work to perfect my running form, keep my cadence up, get faster and more powerful, I realize each day how important it really is.  My tight calves don’t help my back squat much and take away running power.  In Ready to Run, Starrett outlines 12 standards that will help you determine if you are, in fact, Ready to Run and how to get there if you’re not.  I’ve definitely seen a difference since working towards the standards I don’t already meet and can’t wait for some cooler weather to friday favoritesrace in!

Miracle-Gro Aerogarden
The third of my Friday Favorites is my brand new Aerogarden!  I’ve planted lettuce and mini tomatoes to start with herbs to follow after these seeds have been exhausted.  The light is brighter than I expected bouncing off the white walls of the corner I placed it in but I’ve set the lights to turn on at 5:15am and off around 11pm in hopes that it won’t bother anyone or any dog.  I’m excited to be able to grow these vegetables indoors since we don’t have a good flat outside spot for a garden but we do have a few cottontail rabbits living under the shed.  I can’t wait to make a nice fresh salad with what pops up and there will be plenty of pictures to follow the journey.

I don’t have any big plans this weekend other than a nice long run tomorrow and sleeping in on Sunday.  It’s been a while since I’ve had a quiet weekend and I’m looking forward to relaxing by staring at my seedlings until they sprout.

Meredith

What are your Friday Favorites this week?  Any big weekend plans like a race?

Summer Hydration Issues

I’ve had more trouble these last few weeks with the hot, humid weather than I can remember ever having before.  My last few long runs have ended in disaster due to summer hydration issues.  I drink 60+ ounces of water and have stayed on track with my plan each day which makes it very frustrating when these long runs turn ugly and my preparation doesn’t seem to have mattered.  I’m trying to determine what’s making this year so different and am leaning towards one specific thing:  breakfast.  What does breakfast have to do with my summer hydration woes?

I eat chia seed with my breakfast.  Chia is a wonderful food full of fiber, antioxidants and omega-3s.  It makes you feel full and can help keep you hydrated by absorbing three times its weight in water.  I eat breakfast variably but the meal itself is 95% identical to the previous day: cereal, 2% milk, chia seed and a quick downing of 10-15 ounces of water.  Sometimes I’m starving when I wake up, sometimes it’s not until 10, sometimes it’s not at all.  While including at least one fasted workout in each week’s schedule has helped my summer hydrationbody learn to use fat as an energy source, I always eat before my long run.

During the fall, winter and spring I’m pretty flexible with when I’ll go out for my long run and when I eat my breakfast doesn’t much matter.  Morning, mid-morning or afternoon, I just go with the weather and what fits my schedule.  In cooler weather my sweat rate is pretty low and by the time I get out there, I’ve usually had plenty of time to suck down enough water to load that day’s chia seeds up.  No hydration issues.  Summer is different.  Those long runs have to get done early.  This means I eat my chia and drink my water only 10-15 minutes before heading out instead of hours and when I step outside, those chia seeds are probably still thirsty.

With my sweat rate skyrocketing on these hot days, I’m not only loosing what water I have in my body to the atmosphere but the chia is fighting my muscles for it, too.  The first step in fixing my summer hydration issues is to move my chia to the post-run afternoon.  Hopefully this will leave more water for my muscles and make this weekend’s long run better than the last.  If it does make a difference, I’ll stick with it.

Meredith

What’s your summer hydration plan for long runs?  Do you change your diet with the seasons?

Fit Friday: Maintenance Mode

My spring race season is a few weeks old and my fall training cycle isn’t coming up too quickly.  This no man’s land of heat and humidity is the perfect time for me to be in maintenance mode.  I’m taking the work I do seriously but trying new things and exploring different kinds of workouts.  The low pressure, maintain but not test myself thing is new to me but two weeks in, it seems to be panning out OK.

I’m a competitive person.  I like to improve, beat my old PRs and place in my age group but I realize that constantly trying to be at the top of my game is exhausting.  Taking a break from intense training weeks gives my body a real chance to recover and heal, getting both stronger and faster.  My training isn’t based on periodization but is a modified to my preferences and psychosis Crossfit Endurance program.  Drop a long run?  I just can’t do it.  I tried.  It went badly.  I’m in race mode or I’m not and right now, I’m in maintenance mode instead.  In this year’s maintenance mode, I’m running an average of 25 miles a week made up of a short interval run, a long interval run and a long run.

I’ve had fun taking some of my long runs to the sand and choosing to do a long interval session on the treadmill.  The fun continues with my strength training during these lower mileage weeks as I work on adding strength and power to each of my running steps.  I’m enjoying my maintenance mode more than I thought I would and maintenance modeexpect when I hunker down for my fall races I’ll see some improvement across the board thanks to my stronger body.

But, even as I’m taking my training easy but still seriously, I am giving myself a little summer fun leeway on my nutrition.  Have to have some fun!  Here I am after this morning’s rainy 400M repeats on the Boardwalk, half into a brutal 15mph headwind, indulging in National Donut Day with a Dunkin Donuts chocolate glazed.  That poor donut didn’t stand a chance.

Have a great weekend!

Meredith

Do you break up training cycles with a maintenance mode?  Did you enjoy a donut today?

2015 Future Race Plans

I have future race plans!  When my spring race season finished two weeks ago, I was beat up both mentally and physically.  Like most athletes, it’s the promise of testing myself on race day that keeps me pushing forward and I was a little bit lost about what my fall race schedule should include.  Fortunately I’ve recovered from all of that and looking forward to what’s coming over the next few months.

Do I want to race a target half marathon?  Of course I do.  I want the PR I know I’m capable of achieving and more.  Unfortunately, it’s the summer season.  Not exactly an ideal time for racing your best, especially when your next race is Rock n Roll Chicago.  Smack dab in the middle of July.  If the weather is on my side (rain?) I might go out and see what I’ve got.  If it’s not, it’s not.  There will be plenty of opportunities to reach my goal down the road.future race plans

As I sorted myself out after three rough race weekends in a row, I ultimately decided not including the 13.1 distance in my future race plans probably wouldn’t kill me.  If Chicago happens, it happens, no big deal.  It’s been a long time since I focused on training for something other than a half marathon and even longer since I raced a road 5k.  So…I registered for the Heart of Ghent 10k and Harbor Lights 5k with a plan to PR both distances.

I also finally decided on my first marathon!  It’s a long way out but next March’s One City Marathon in Newport News, VA is the winner.  Plenty more on this coming soon.

While my immediate future race plans don’t currently include racing 13.1 miles, I will be running a few.  I have back to back half marathons in Connecticut and Rhode Island in October.  I’ll be knocking out some two in a row long run training blocks and stretching my long run to 20 miles once or twice.  It’ll give me a good taste for the full training I’ll have over the winter but the truth is I might not be able to stop myself from the lure of 13.1 racing miles.  The Harbor Lights Half Marathon is flat, fast and super close to home.  It presents the perfect chance to go after a 2015 half marathon PR in a month I’m sure won’t be hot.  The fact that it’s the day after my goal 5k just gives me more of a challenge.

Meredith

What are your future race plans?  Trying a difference race distance?